Cal Poly’s motto is “Learn by Doing," and for our team, this isn’t simply a motto, but a directive for proactive change. The Cal Poly NECA and MCAA Chapters have embodied and actively emulated this motto through multiple international community relief projects across the globe. Our current team including the MCAA Chapter the NECA Chapter made up of students and faculty from Cal Poly’s Construction Management department, and a Solar Refrigeration Research Team made up of students and faculty from both the Cal Poly Physics and Engineering departments have designed and will be building a photovoltaic array and community center in the remote fishing village of Agbokpa, Ghana. The solar array will power multiple industrial DC freezers, water filtration and irrigation systems while additionally powering lighting and charging stations. Like many other fishing villages around the world, Agbokpa has no means of ice production due to their disconnect from a power grid, contributing substantially to their impoverishment. As a proactive and determined team we have made it our goal to improve the overall well-being of the community by installing our system.
Agbokpa is a remote fishing village located on the coast of Lake Volta, Ghana. It’s circumstances are not uncommon to other fishing villages around the lake and around the world, as they are cut off from the power grid. Lake Volta is essential to Ghanaians’ everyday lives providing food, revenue, and hydroelectric energy. The villagers of Agbokpa depend on the natural resources in the lake for their everyday life, but their lack of electricity reduces their economic potential.
There are approximately 500 residents that farm or fish in the village of Agbokpa and these people’s income is dependent on making their way across the lake to sell their produce and fish on market days in the larger village of Kotoso. Therefore, it is essential that the fish and produce stay fresh until market day. Currently, villagers of Agbokpa have no access to refrigeration or ice, and are storing fish in nets in the water in hopes of keep them alive as long as possible, inevitably resulting in vast spoilage. The lack of an effective method of preservation and water filtration in the village of Agbokpa, and many villages like it, reduces their economic potential and forces them into a cycle of extreme poverty. We believe that with the addition of this system, the village will be able to scale their economy and increase the well-being of the entire village.
We are proud to announce that with the recent award of funding through the Student Community Service Initiative hosted by ELECTRI International as well as countless other generous donation and grants, we have raised over $60,000 in donated funds, tools and materials to build the base model of our system. This additional funding we hope to raise through Spur Change will allow us to increase the scale of our project(from 600SF to 800SF), and upgrade the structural and electrical systems of our building. We would be able to upgrade our previously designed wood system to a steel framed building and scale the electrical system accordingly. With your support we will be able to make the project upgrades we see necessary for our project to reach its maximum potential. This additional funding would greatly increase the life, safety and performance of the building.
Through our dedicated team possessing diverse talents and interests, good relations with the chief of Agbokpa and other community members, and a proven track record of successful projects, we believe that our team can make a lasting impact for the village of Agbokpa. Research and design has already begun in efficient refrigeration and freezing methods, electrical and mechanical system design, structure modeling, and more.
We will conclude our project with a 10 minute documentary style film in which we will recognize all the organizations, companies and individuals that came alongside us and made our project possible. We also plan to cristen the building with a commemorative plaque. The documentary will premiere at the NECA Now Conference in October 2019.